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Concerns over security remain one of the biggest barriers to adoption of IoT solutions. It is very clear from the many studies that have been conducted that until this concern is properly addressed, the potential IoT has will remain restricted.

Why is security such an important part of IoT and if it is one of the big barriers to adoption, why have these concerns not been addressed?

Security is key to reliability

Different data has a different sensitivity. Personal data from fitbits or cameras inside the home will be collecting more sensitive and invasive data than a sensor on a roll cage in a grocery environment. The protection of the data is the most obvious point here but the other factors are as important.

IoT systems will become part of the day to day life. Reliance’s on IoT solutions will form as more and more IoT is adopted and used. The robustness of these systems is, therefore, key as, without it, they simply can’t be relied upon. If they can’t be relied upon, what’s the point?

For IoT to be truly effective, it needs to enhance the systems we use today

Another reason for security is to enable interoperability between systems. This is probably more important in B2B applications than consumer but either way, interoperability will determine how much impact IoT can have and how much value can be created.

For example, businesses will already have some systems in place. These systems will be heavily used and be integral to the business operation. In the supply chain, something like Warehouse Management Software helps to manage product inside the warehouse. It may be an Enterprise Resource Planning system that helps to manage stock orders for multiple business stores and likely, a combination of both to manage operations across the business.

An IoT solution is adopted. The IoT solution offers the ability to track and monitor goods in and out of sites helping to improve the data accuracy of the overall business. In isolation, the IoT solution offers value. However, the value created will increase if the IoT solution can assist systems already in place and improve performance.

The systems that the IoT solution has to interoperate with are critical to the business operation. Therefore, security is a key concern.

No business in its right mind is going to allow interoperation of mainstay systems if the security of a new IoT solution is poor as it could lead to business-critical functions being disrupted.

So why aren’t all IoT solutions secure?

Simply put, it’s hard. It costs time and money to implement security across and IoT solution, it requires either an end to end provider or collaboration between multiple vendors to ensure security throughout solutions but most of all, it’s unclear what standards these solutions should be built to.

The overarching challenge is that there is still no agreed or legislated standard for IoT devices. This isn’t just to do with security but right across the board. This makes it very difficult for procurement teams but also vendors to establish whether the security of a system is adequate, and therefore the onus sits with the vendors to make the right decisions.

IoT solutions are also complex and have multiple surfaces that need to be protected. The overall solution security is only as strong as its weakest link. Implementing security methods into each surface takes time and costs money.

If you consider the main points used to differentiate a sensor, they typically come down to cost, size, and battery life. As soon as security is implemented, the cost goes up, the device will typically use more power, more data will be transferred if sensors are using adequate security such as embedded certificates… the list goes on. Implementing technologies to ensure security also extends the cost and time of development.

Finally, IoT is still relatively new to most people. Only now are people starting to understand the term and some of the applications. Aspects such as security are far from being understood.

How do we overcome this?

When you consider the above, it’s easy to see why a lot of vendors bypass the implementation of proper security into IoT solutions. But based on the evidence, ignoring or bypassing the security aspect will stunt the value created, adoption and ultimately, growth of IoT solutions.

So, vendors need to be more responsible. It is vendors responsibility to ensure the security part of IoT solutions is handled. Expecting supply chain managers, procurement teams, programme managers, etc. to understand the ‘ins and outs’ of IoT security is unfair.

A massive help to all involved would be the introduction of an agreed standard making it easier to distinguish between secure and not secure, helping vendors and procurement teams alike. Efforts are already being started in the UK and some states of America and we at Entopy look forward to these progressing.

Entopy’s approach

At Entopy, we have endured the grueling process of implementing proper standards of security into our platform. We recognised the cost and time challenges but ultimately came to the conclusion that it was our responsibility to do so.

We have developed an end to end solution meaning we have had controls of the hardware and software aspects and yes, this has helped. But even still, getting these technologies to work reliably has meant huge amounts of testing and effort.

We are now extending this. Given our expertise across the spectrum, we are well placed to assess and integrate other sensors from trusted vendors into our platform allowing our customers to benefit from a range of sensors with the confidence of security throughout.

Finally, we celebrate this and speak at length about the importance of IoT security with partners and customers alike. We welcome conversation around this and ate always on hand if companies want to explore IoT security further.

Interested?

Get in touch today: info@entopy.com


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